Why does chicken soup make my tooth feel better?
February 2, 2005 12:16 PM   Subscribe

I am suffering from episodes of the worst pain I have ever felt, linked to a post-root canal-ed tooth that has broken. Why does aspirin or Advil only seem to provide relief in conjuction with consumption of chicken soup? Not any liquid; not any hot liquid, but chicken soup?

(going to dentist tomorrow).
posted by ParisParamus to Grab Bag (18 answers total)
(actually, the filling is what broke, not the tooth)
posted by ParisParamus at 12:22 PM on February 2, 2005

I think it's scientifically proven that chicken soup is the elixir of life. I'm not surprised at this development.
posted by goatdog at 12:25 PM on February 2, 2005

Have you tried hot, salty water? That's basically chicken soup: salt, water, and some chicken renderings for taste.
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:32 PM on February 2, 2005

I was ready to jump right in here, having had my very first root canal in November. Three weeks (and 700 bucks later) one of the roots fractured; but it's not too painful, and I can live with it for now. But at any rate: hot liquid helping your pain, well, it's nerves which are affected, so the warmth could make a difference, but as for the chicken soup-- unless it's something in the salt content of the soup, or perhaps its emotional associations, I'd be at a loss. Have you tried oil of cloves? It has a quick and deadening effect on dental pain. (Personally, the only thing that worked for me when my tooth was really painful, i.e. the weekend pre-root canal, was something a bit more serious than Advil. Your dentist can call in a prescription for codeine. Just take with lots of water.)
posted by jokeefe at 12:33 PM on February 2, 2005

Don't know about the chicken soup, but pack the broken part of the filling with wax. It may provide you some relief.
posted by kamikazegopher at 12:34 PM on February 2, 2005

I know that warm salt water can reduce inflammation, as when it is used to clean out sinuses and as a gargle for sore throats. So AlexReynolds may be on to something.
posted by Clay201 at 12:49 PM on February 2, 2005

Note that the clinically effective dose of ibuprofen is 500 mg. If you are only taking one pill, as per label recommendations, try two -- or three. (Check with your doctor first, of course. I got this recommendation from a doctor, but I am not one.) To prevent stomach problems, take a full glass of liquid with each dose.

Also, note that ibuprofen and acetaminophen operate by different mechanisms and can be used together. Do not exceed the recommended dose of the acetaminophen, however, and do not consume any alcohol. (I received this recommendation from a nurse, but I am not one of those either.)
posted by kindall at 12:59 PM on February 2, 2005

You can't misunderestimate the power of the mind to deceive itself... I vote placebo effect. And, I note, there's nothing wrong with placebo effect: when it works, it's freakin' fantastic.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:01 PM on February 2, 2005

Actually, I don't think this is just placebo action. Recent research on chicken soup showed that it inhibits neutrophil migration. NM, essentially, is when white blood cells go the site of an injury; good to a point, but the body sometimes overdoes it, sending too many white blood cells all at once, which is a primary cause of inflammation

While Rennard's research showed that chicken soup was effective in preventing migration even at very low concentrations (i.e., the levels that would exist in the blood stream after eating it), for oral inflammation, the direct application of chicken soup is probably considerably more effective.

[As an interesting aside, while each of the vegetables in chicken soup, taken alone, had cytotoxic (cell-killing) properties, the complete soup lacked cytotoxic activity.]

So, apparently, the chicken soup is helping fight inflammation better than ibuprofen alone.
posted by thomascrown at 1:42 PM on February 2, 2005

I'm sure this is more in your mind. Herbal tea that reminds me of dandelion tea always works for me. Find a smell, taste, palate texture that really takes you away.
posted by sled at 2:01 PM on February 2, 2005

DH has the same trouble. It wakes him up in the night and we're running out of anbesol. I know that warm liquid (read: water, tea etc.) has soothed it. Must get miracle soup.
Try also sensodyne toothpaste and be certain food particles don't get stuck in there and exacerbate the issue.
posted by laurenbove at 2:31 PM on February 2, 2005

This is way, WAY belong placebo. Interesting.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:34 PM on February 2, 2005

And tea makes it worse!!!
posted by ParisParamus at 2:36 PM on February 2, 2005

It's the warm liquid and salt combo as stated above. Try warm salt water and see if you get the same effect.
posted by Juicylicious at 3:18 PM on February 2, 2005

I think that's just the vegetarian take on things ;P
posted by ParisParamus at 3:49 PM on February 2, 2005

Vegetarian me? No, no, no, I love my meat protien. Seriously paris, it's the warm salty liquid. I bet if you tried beef soup or minestrone you'd get the same result.
posted by Juicylicious at 5:05 PM on February 2, 2005

Chicken soup has fat / oil in it too, which makes some things more soluble than just water, which would perhaps make said things more effective.
posted by smackfu at 8:46 PM on February 2, 2005

I can't speak for chicken soup, but as far as topical applications for dental pain, Orajel has always worked better for me than anything else. Oddly enough, it has to be in the gel form; the Orajel creme does nothing for me.

Most dentists and dental surgeons will prescribe hydrocodone and such, if asked. I find non-narcotics only mildly helpful for root canals and open socket misery.
posted by ember at 9:23 PM on February 3, 2005

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